Aziz Ansari and his audience

After coming back from Detroit late yesterday afternoon, I had dinner at home with Chris and went down to Radio City Music Hall to see Aziz Ansari perform as part of his “Road to Nowhere” tour. The greatest thing about seeing comedians and other performing artists who are people of color is that they always acknowledge race, the always changing definition of “normal” or “politically correct,” and well, that is refreshing and something I can relate to a lot.

He touched upon a lot of very real, tangible topics in both a touching and a funny way, everything from his involvement in the #metoo movement with the woman who wrote the viral piece about her sexual encounter with him, where she perceived him to be completely un-attuned to her body language saying she was not interested in having sex, to liberals and their obsession with playing a Candy Crush version of a “how progressive can you prove yourself to be” competition, to even his grandmother and her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. He even talked about the issue of birth control in our society now: why does it seem like the only options out there have to be so terrible: an IUD that results in, well, his penis getting stabbed, or birth control pills, which make his girlfriend into a moody, worser version of herself?

But while enjoying his standup, I noticed a woman, blonde and white, sitting not too far from us who clearly was not having a good time. Her friend (or whoever she was with) had gotten out of her seat and left, likely to either get a drink or use the bathroom, and that was when I noticed this person and how bored or un-engaged she looked. While Aziz was cracking jokes and the entire audience was roaring with laughter, this woman was looking off to the side, to my direction, expressionless, as though she was possibly counting down the minutes until this event would be over. Her facial expression and body language all screamed out that she was in extreme discomfort.

Did her friend ask her to accompany her tonight, or did she beg because she absolutely needed a plus-one because she didn’t want to come alone? Why would someone like this come to an Aziz Ansari show? You either like his material or you do not, and she clearly did not. I didn’t really feel bad for her, though. At the end of the day, it was her choice. And if Aziz’s material makes her feel uncomfortable, I wonder if she asks herself why it does that to her.

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